Trevor Horsnell, a former
Sugar Beet Grower of the
Year, part owns and rents
182ha (450 acres) at
Gorrells Farm, Highwood,
Chelmsford, Essex. Besides
beet, his cropping includes
potatoes and winter wheat,
barley and oilseed rape
APRIL showers continue to frustrate our attempts at land work, with 20mm (0.8in) of rain over five days before Easter sufficient to confine tractors to the yard.
Although we badly need significant rainfall following a mere 107mm (4in) in the past three months, it would be nice to get a good downpour and then dry up, rather than dribs and drabs.
All the chitted potato seed was planted by the end of March. Piper seed had accumulated 300 day degrees and Estima 200 day degrees, in little more than two months in the chitting shed. The rest of the Estima and the Desiree are being held in the cold store to prevent excessive sprouting.
Sugar beet drilling was completed on Mar 22 – our earliest ever. The seed was drilled slightly shallower than normal, as soil conditions were excellent and there was very little moisture loss behind the power harrow/drill combination working straight onto ploughed land.
The crop is emerging well, just in time to catch the frosts that are forecast for Easter weekend no doubt.
We shall shortly be saying farewell to one of our staff. Robin, who has been with us for six years since completing his degree, is off to take up a management post in Suffolk. His contribution to the farm will be greatly missed, but in the current economic climate it is unlikely that we shall appoint a replacement.
Much thought has been given recently to upgrading our sprayer, drill and cultivation techniques.
All the wheats apart from Soissons have received Apres (quinoxyfen) and flutriafol to hopefully give prolonged protection against mildew, which is normally our biggest fungal enemy.
We will be using Amistar (azoxystrobin) based programmes on some fields, starting at GS32 next week. But I cant help wondering where all this extra wheat, which these new fungicides are supposed to give, us will find a home. *
Mildew is normally the biggest fungal enemy for Trevor Horsnalls wheat. All bar Soissans has now received quinoxyfen + flutriafol.